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For a long time i've been fascinated by Mongolia and i've pretty much gobbled up every book i could find on that country. And i have to say that this book is my favorite of them all. Although, not set in 'actual' Mongolia, this book paints a beautiful picture of the lives and trials of the people living in the mongolian grasslands. The book is an autobiographical story of a young chinese intellectual 'Chen Zhen' who was sent work in the remote grasslands as a part of his 're-education' during the Chinese cultural revolution.   Its a tale of the incredible beauty of the rugged grasslands. One of my lasting memories from the book is the scene of the hunt in the snow lake. The wily Wolves chase a herd of Gazelles into a deep snow field and have them trapped in the deep snow. After the wol
Back in 2007, i rode through Bhutan on my motorbike. Back then i had a lot of trouble gathering any information on the country. I didn't even have any decent road maps. The lonely planet book on Bhutan was useless as far as independent travelers were concerned. I did read a couple of great travelogue books which gave be a good insight into the country and its people but as far as practical issues were concerned, i had pretty much no idea.  I chanced upon this book pretty much by accident while browsing through the book stores in Calcutta. The book was exactly what i was looking for. It had detailed information on the routes, the permits and good background information on all the sights around this wonderful country. I especially appreciate the detailed information given about the vario
For most western travelers traveling to Bhutan is all but a distant dream. The country is notorious for trying protect its cultural heritage from the 'evils' of modern tourism. Every year it allows only a handful of tourists to visit the magical country and that too for a hefty fee. Around 200 to 250$ a day gets you an all inclusive trip around the country. The Author of this book Katie Hickman was one such wide-eyed western tourist. When touring in the Manas national park in Assam, India, she happened to catch a glimpse of Bhutanese buildings across the river and after that she was never able to get the country off her mind. Later by chance she happened to meet someone from the Bhutanese royal family and they graciously offered her a rare invitation to visit the country.   The book
In my opinion, this is hands down the most beautiful of all the high altitude lakes in Ladakh. I visited the Tsomoriri lake back in October 2007 on a rented Enfield motorcycle. The trip turned out to be one huge adventure. I was delayed at Leh due to a slight miscalculation with regard to fuel stops (basically had to drive back to Leh to fill up). The drive was wonderfully stunning that it delayed me even more. As far as mountain roads go.. the stretch between Leh and Tsomoriri has to be one of the best there is, taking you through the entire gamut of mountain landscapes. We start at Leh and ride gently upstream along the Indus river with the Ladakh range to our left and the Zanskar range towards the right. Initially we ride through the heart of Central Ladakh passing through villages rich
Not much useful in terms of independent travel, especially accommodation options etc. But otherwise provides good information on the various places of interest around the country and the various trekking options available. If you are a independent traveler, you should definitely consider picking up some of the indian edition books on Bhutan.
I've visited Pangong Lake twice. The first time was back in Oct 2008 when i did a short overnight trip to the Pangong lake on a rented motor bike and the second time was in Oct 2010 when bicycled there from Leh and spent over 5 days staying at the different villages around the Lake.The obvious draw for me is the beauty of the lake and the mountains that surround it. Separately they are stunning in their own right but together the mountains and the lake combine to give a unique visual treat few other places in the world can match. As you travel along the lake, subtle changes in the color of the waters (based on changes in its depth) and/or the layout of mountains keeps the visual experience flowing. Add a splattering of puffy clouds and a slight breeze you can be sure that you'll never bore
This book provides a wonderful introduction for anyone looking to learn more about Ladakh. Its author, Janet Rizvi, lived in Ladakh for a few years during the late 1970's. In a few hundred pages she provides a wealth of information derived from her own experience of the place and from her research on Buddhist literature and from various accounts of early travelers and traders who passed through this region.I found the entire book to be lucid and rather enjoyable to read. I read this book after having been to Ladakh a couple of times and spending over 2 months traveling across the region. The book was last edited in 1996 but i could still see the similarities in the lifestyle of the people as described in the book and what is there today.The book's description of the geography of the region
I use a Canon 5D Mark II and shoot mostly in the RAW mode. With file sizes ranging around 22MB my CF cards tend to fill up rather quickly. So when i was planning my 6 month cycling trip to the Himalayas i wanted to find the largest possible card at a reasonable price.I've always been a Sandisk user and i trust that brand. But back in 2010, the Sandisk 32GB cards were really expensive (over 250$) and this was when i came across the Kingston Elite Pro 32 GB CF card. Coming in around less than 100$ (in June 2010) it was the right price, and at 32GB the right size for me.Whatever reservations i had about the card disappeared after a couple of months of usage. This was the only card i used during my 6 months of cycling across the Himalayas. I've used it at altitudes over 5000m and at temperatur
Costing around 100$, this is a perfect lens for anyone to learn serious photography.
A few other articles about the Tsomoriri lake that you might be interested in.- Travelogue : The Tsomoriri Trip.. A troubled trip that couldn't have gone any better..- Myth/Folktale : The story of how the Tsomoriri lake got its name.- Myth/Folktale : The story of how the Tsokar lake lost its waters and how the Tso Kiagar lake was born.
A few other articles about the Tsokar lake that you might be interested in.- The story of how the Tsokar lake lost its waters and how the Tso Kiagar lake was born.
The Shey palace is pretty impossible to miss when you are driving on the road out of Leh (towards Manali).For me personally, the best part about visiting Shey is the expanded view of the valley and its villages. From one of the vantage points (a little up the hill above the palace) you can spot the Thiksey, Stakna, Matho and Spituk monasteries. Goes to show how important this vantage point is and it is no wonder that the ancient kings of Ladakh built their capital there.
The Hemis monastery may not look as pretty or spectacular as some of the other monasteries (Thiksey, Chemre, Spituk etc) in Ladakh. But i love it for its simple and practical design which makes it easily accessible by the visitors.For starters one does not have to climb a plethora of steps to enter the monastery. It is easily accessible by foot. The entrance opens up to a vast courtyard where the annual mask dance festival takes place. The monastery's main building is on the right side, facing the courtyard and a beautiful two-tired viewing arcade lines the other three sides of the courtyard. The walls of the arcade facing the main building are adorned with beautiful stone slab paintings.Overall you get an overwhelming sense of openness and space here when compared to any other monastery i
I rode close to 1500km in the Indian Himalayas on my Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT) fitted with the Schwalbe Marathon Extreme 26 x 2.25" tires. While in the lower Himalayas the roads were nicely paved, the road from Manali to Leh threw out many challenges and these tires handled them all with ease.The highway from Manali to Leh and those around Ladakh have some of the roughest road conditions in the world. Muddy roads, gravel tracks, potholes, sandy roads, river and stream crossings, steep uphill and downhill climbs, offroad sections with scrubby thorny vegetation, smooth paved roads.. you name it and you'll find it in Ladakh.Here's a short summary of the performance of the Schwalbe Marathon Extreme tires on this road.The Good:- Excellent grip. I had complete confidence and fun racing